THREE REASONS I'M A FAILURE and How That's a Good Thing

Here are my reflections on the 2014-2015 school year.

Firstly, I am a crappy evangelist. It’s not that I don’t love talking about Jesus, I’m just not into monologuing, or steering conversations. So Jesus does not come up a lot. Strike one.

This fact also makes me a terrible missionary. It wouldn’t matter if it was Laos or Langley. I’m good with the ‘go’ command, I’m just not having any luck with the ‘make disciples’ command. The teens I run into do not want to talk about Jesus all the time, and when they don’t want to, I don’t either. Strike two.

I’m also a horrible ‘leader’ (Which I grew up understanding as a synonym for ‘good Christian’). Two years ago I tried to kick-start and run a program and my head nearly fell off from the stress. I cannot lead people, I cannot lead programs. Strike three.

In summary, for the past five years that I have been a part of Langley Youth Unlimited I have never personally ‘saved’ anyone. Not one person. No sinner’s prayers, no testimonies, no baptisms. Some may say I’m a total ministry failure.

But my perspective has become a little different. Failure has been and continues to be a gift and a blessing. How so?

I struggle with believing identity is tied up in what I ‘produce’. I confuse success with self-worth. My failures - my lack of ability to ‘produce’ Christian teens - continually force me to confront this lie.

And so I have no problem doing menial or mundane tasks lately. I spent three days cleaning and painting our drop in space this summer and I really enjoyed it. I am learning to embrace one of the maxims of the late Fr. Thomas Hopko of blessed memory “Be simple, hidden, quiet and small”. I am not valuable because I am a minister/evangelist/have a ‘calling’. I am valuable because I am made in the image and likeness of God. I am loved. Period.

I cannot, no matter how zealous I am and no matter how eloquent my apologetics are, make anyone believe in God or make them understand that He loves them. But I can love them. And hopefully, with God’s grace I’m learning how to do that better and better.

I will focus on what I can do and let God do what only He can do.

- Chris Hawthorne


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